Two Polish military planes were shot down by small-arms fire while they were patrolling the border with Belarus last week, prompting Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki to dispatch three additional planes to carry out a multinational response operation. But he also announced that a video that Polish intelligence posted online showed what he claimed was evidence of Belarusian forces attempting to impede the escorting operations, in the same mountainous area near the border.
“There is proof that Belarusian pilots appeared in front of our planes,” Morawiecki said during a news conference at an air force base near Krakow, Poland. He claimed that it was “clear” that this was an attempt to impede the patrols.
A spokesman for Belarus’s Ministry of Defense told the TASS news agency that the video was part of a coordinated disinformation campaign by Poland aimed at discrediting Belarus. “[…] A disinformation campaign of disinformation intended to slander Belarus is a regular feature of the anti-Russian propaganda of the Polish authorities,” the spokesman said.
Poland has forged close ties with Moscow in recent years, and its president, Andrzej Duda, was one of the few European leaders to support President Vladimir Putin’s annexation of Crimea in 2014. It remains unclear, however, what role the Belarusian government might have played in the shootings, but according to the BBC, Poland is “looking to keep the heat on Belarus.”
Poland’s own allegations that Russia is using Ukraine as a “human shield” along its border, similar to the case in which the white phosphorous used by U.S. forces in Afghanistan was discovered and was blamed on a Russian air force base, have added to the standoff between the two countries.
Poland’s moves against Russia include a law adopted in 2018 that will allow Poland to prosecute any person “affected by aggression from the Russian Federation,” no matter where he or she lives in the world. A 2012 law prohibits calling Moscow a “partner of democracy” or referring to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), which is closely linked to the United States and Europe, as an “agenda setter.”
The Polish government is also considering permanent deployments of military equipment to NATO in order to protect its citizens in the event of a Russian attack.
Read the full story at The Guardian.
New video purportedly shows Russia firing into Ukraine in warning to Kiev
Russian officials condemn ‘cynical’ U.S. moves to make military training to Ukraine illegal
The CIA spent $2.7 million in 2018 to secretly fund pro-Kremlin TV hosts